Pumpkins have been used extensively to make delicious recipes for a long time. It is a yummy as well as healthy fruit. Even the seeds of this amazing fruit are full of nutrients and minerals such as copper, zinc, protein, manganese, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, etc. These seeds are awesome snacks with a nutty and crunchy flavor. They can also be added to vegetable curry and gravies to enhance its taste. A lot of people consume these yummy seeds, but are unaware of the fact that they offer numerous health and beauty benefits, if taken in the right amount. We have enlisted various such benefits for your convenience. Go through them and know how beneficial pumpkin seeds can be.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
1. Act as Antioxidant Agent
Pumpkin seeds consist of vitamin E, which is a strong antioxidant. Along with that, there are many other antioxidants like phenols (2), lignans, zinc, and manganese. Inflammation and oxidative stress are responsible for causing many diseases which can be cured by the antioxidants present in these nutty seeds.
2. Promote Cell Regeneration
The presence of vitamin A in the seeds aids in repairing and regeneration of cells. It plays a major role in cell division and differentiation (3). Sufficient amount of vitamin A in the body is essential for the formation of a healthy scar tissue and in wound healing. Vitamin A supplements are actively used in treating skin problems like acne, UV damage, and burns.
3. Protect from Pollutants
Zinc and selenium present in the pumpkin seeds promote the production of collagen (4), making a barrier for the pollutants to pass. The collagen gives an extra protection to the skin from the nasty UV rays.
4. Reduce Cholesterol
This is one of the main health benefits of pumpkin seeds. The seeds are a boon for those experiencing high cholesterol. The seeds consist of phytosterols that lower bad cholesterol level in the body (5). Reduced level of cholesterols benefits the cardiovascular health. Phytosterols are similar to cholesterol in structure, which reduces the absorption of LDP (low-density protein) in the intestine (6). Copper increases the count of red blood cells and enhances the oxygenated passage of blood in the vessels. The seeds contain low levels of sodium that reduces blood pressure, further escalating heart health.
5. Boost Urinary Tract Function
Pumpkin seeds are widely used as a remedy to cure bladder problems (7) and improve urinary function. Studies show that the water-soluble component of the pumpkin seeds benefits in alleviating problems of the urinary tract and cures irritable bladder as it is easily absorbed into the blood stream. The water-soluble pumpkin extract has an anabolic (tissue building) effect on the pelvic muscles. It inhibits aromatase enzyme, and provides more of testosterone to make pelvic muscles strong. In addition to that, the water soluble content binds to the androgen receptor present on pelvic muscles, further strengthening them. In this way, pumpkin seeds play a vital role in reducing urinary tract infections.
6. Work as Anti-Depressant
According to a survey in New Zealand, the number of people suffering from depression has increased considerably (8). The seeds are of great benefit, when it comes to relaxing the mind. Pumpkin seeds contain L-tryptophan that is significant in reducing the depression and uplifting the state of mind (9). It helps synthesize GABA that reduces anxiety and uplifts the mood.
7. Keep Bones Healthy
Osteoporosis mainly develops due to the deficiency of zinc (10). Pumpkin seeds guard your body against the dreadful disease by supplying enough quantity of zinc to the body. Mainly, calcium is responsible for bones, but zinc also promotes bone formation. Zinc forms hydroxylapatite (crystalline calcium complex), that forms half of the weight of the bones. This makes zinc important for the formation of bones and bone mass. It also helps heal fracture and bone damage at a faster rate.
8. Promote Prostate Health
Pumpkin seeds are largely used for dietary supplements. They are used to keep the prostate healthy from ancient times (11). The seeds are effective in decreasing the risks associated with cancer by eliminating the dangerous effects on prostate cells. Pumpkin seed oil is good at treating BPH (12).
9. Boost Memory
The high amount of magnesium present in pumpkin seeds makes it beneficial in curing learning problems. The seeds are also known as brain food. They boost memory and improve concentration due to the presence of zinc that also improves immune function, affecting the overall health (13).
10. Increase Magnesium
A cup of pumpkin seeds contains more than half the amount of magnesium that should be consumed by a woman in a day. Magnesium is an essential element that helps regulate muscle and nerve function, makes protein and DNA, controls blood glucose level, and maintains a normal heart rhythm (14).
11. Equipped with Potassium
Potassium plays an important role in the contraction of muscles, regulating the fluids, controlling blood pressure, and balancing minerals. Potassium cures the painful disease of kidney stones and bone loss due to aging. Pumpkin seeds (261mg) supply almost an equivalent amount of potassium as compared to banana (268mg), which is considered as the power bank of potassium (15).
12. Treat Diabetes
The seeds possess an anti-diabetic effect. A research has shown that pumpkin seeds and its extract promote insulin levels and reduce oxidative stress. The anti-diabetic effect can be contributed to the presence of phenols, flavonoids, and saponins (16). Studies have shown that incorporating pumpkin seeds in diet resulted in low level of diabetes (17).
13. Immunity Strengthening
Zinc is a vital mineral to improve the immunity of the body. The recommendation for zinc intake is 6.8mg for adult females (18). A cup of pumpkin seeds supplies 6.59mg, almost the same amount.
14. Promote a Sound Sleep
Tryptophan found in the seeds is converted into melatonin, a sleep hormone that treats chronic insomnia. Just have a handful of seeds before going to bed for a peaceful sleep. Even a low amount of 1 gram of tryptophan improves the quality of sleep (19). Along with that, magnesium in the seeds also enhances the sleep latency (20).
15. Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy
There are various benefits of pumpkin seeds during pregnancy, owing to the presence of zinc. Going by a research, the majority of women are suffering from the deficiency of zinc. Reduced levels of zinc can lead to a disturbance in the various hormones responsible for the onset of labor. It has been shown that lack of zinc in animals affects the growth of the offspring (21).
16. Act as Anti– Inflammatory Agent
Studies have shown that pumpkin seeds exhibit anti-inflammatory activities in the body. Sometimes, inflammation occurs due to the deficiency of various minerals and proteins. Munching the seeds will maintain adequate amounts of proteins to avoid the occurrence of inflammation. The seeds bring a relief from arthritis. According to a study, it has been found that people who were given pumpkin seeds were benefited (22). Pumpkin seeds appear green due to the presence of chlorophyll in them. Chlorophyll alkalizes the body and blood by cleansing it. It prevents any inflammation that can occur from acidity.
17. Increase Testosterone
Pumpkin seeds are a power-bank of nutrients offering vitamin K, C, and D, along with many other minerals. The presence of zinc reduces the amount of testosterone from getting converted into dihydrotestosterone by increasing the production of testosterone (23). A lack of zinc can lead to increased concentration of DHT that causes premature balding and an enlarged prostate. Being packed with zinc, magnesium, and healthy fat, pumpkin seeds are one of the best foods to boost testosterone levels.
18. Aids Weight Loss
In order to reduce, we cut down on various foods high in fat. Due to this, the body is susceptible to develop a deficiency as it is not getting a complete diet. Pumpkin seeds, power packed with nutrients turn out to be a highly nutritive snack. It supplies the body with vitamins and minerals. In addition to that, it provides the body with fiber that has a key role in satiating the hunger and keeping you full, aiding in reducing obesity (24). The iron content keeps you enthused with energy, so that you are able to work out in full spirit.
19. Maintains Body Metabolism
Amino acids assist in metabolic functions as they can be used in many metabolic and enzymatic reactions. 30% of pumpkin seeds are made up of protein. So, consumption of the seeds give body a good dose of protein (25), promoting the ease with which metabolic functions can be performed.
20. Works as Anti-Parasitic and Anti-Microbial
Pumpkin seeds are anti-parasitic by nature (26). They are used to flush out tapeworms and other parasites present in the body. Pumpkin seeds are particularly beneficial in case of children who are vulnerable to worms. Pumpkin seeds make a good defense system against the worms and unhealthy microbes that can lead to malnutrition and incorrect growth patterns. In addition to that, it is beneficial in curbing yeast infections and hampers their growth.
21. Reduced Risk of Cancer
Pumpkin seeds lower the chances of developing stomach, colon, breast, lung, and prostate cancer. A study has shown that a regular intake of pumpkin seeds helps get rid of breast cancer in postmenopausal women (27). Other researches have proved that lignans in the seeds play a vital role in curing breast cancer (28). The test tube studies have proved that the supplements containing pumpkin seed extract were found to sedate the augmentation of prostate cancer (29).
22. High in Fiber
Pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber content (30). Fiber is essential for maintaining a good digestive system. In order to have more fiber, consume seeds with shells. A high fiber diet eases constipation and cures stomach disorders.
23. Beneficial for Menopausal Women
A good amount of phyto-estrogen leads to an increase in the HDL cholesterol level and reduces blood pressure, hot flashes, joints pain, and other painful symptoms that arise during the menopausal phase (31).
24. Protects Liver
The protein content of the pumpkin seeds helps reduce the toxicity of liver. Pumpkin seeds have been efficient in guarding the body against carbon tetrachloride-induced injury in liver (32). A study has shown that the pumpkin seeds benefit the liver enzymes and reduce the toxicity levels in liver (33).
25. Good for Eyesight
Pumpkin seeds contain a high amount of vitamin A that improves vision, particularly in dim light (34). In addition to that, zinc allows vitamin A to reach retina from liver, and create melanin which protects the eye. Studies have shown that cataract and loss of vision mainly occur due to zinc deficiency.
26. Alkalize the Body
When the body is overpowered by the acidic nature, it may develop diseases like osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes. To reduce the acidity in the body, it is important to include such food that increases the alkalinity in the body. The ideal pH of blood for the body is 7.35- 7.45 (35). Pumpkin seeds are one of the best foods for maintaining such an alkaline pH in the body.
27. Cure Anemia
Anemia is caused by lack of iron in the body. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of iron. According to a study, regular consumption of pumpkin seeds results in an increased concentration of iron in women and adolescents (36).
Beauty Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
28. Moisturize Skin
This is one of the main benefits of pumpkin seeds for skin. Sebum is an oily secretion. Excess sebum production would lead to an oily and dull skin, prone to pimples and acne (37). On the other hand, less amount of sebum would make the skin dry and flaky. So, it is very important to maintain the right amount of sebum on skin. The essential fatty acids present in the seeds maintain the right amount of oil and moisture. To get a flawless skin, apply a paste of mashed pumpkin on your face. Pumpkin seeds are far better than the toxic creams and lotions. Pumpkin seeds contain unsaturated fatty acid that nourishes the skin and make it supple (38). Take a cup of ground pumpkin seeds and add a beaten egg and some oil to make a thick paste. Apply the pack on face for 15 minutes and rinse with water to get a smooth and glowing skin.
29. Beneficial for Hair
Hair loss can occur due to chronic inflammation. The seeds are enriched with vitamin A, K, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. All these are great for hair and scalp health. Omega-3 fatty acid is beneficial in hair growth as it reduces inflammation (39). Instead of using zinc supplements for hair loss, consume pumpkin seeds that have an ample amount of the mineral to nourish your hair. Pumpkin seeds make the hair stronger, shinier, and thicker. If the health of your hair is deteriorating day by day, do not opt for chemically loaded products; instead, include the pumpkin seeds in your diet.
30. Cure Acne
Pumpkin seeds are enriched with zinc that possesses anti–inflammatory properties. Zinc helps cure acne by reducing the redness and scars on the face. The antibacterial properties of zinc calm down the hyperactive sebaceous glands, thereby, reducing the oily secretion and chances of being attacked by acne (40).
31. Stop Premature Aging
Nobody wants to grow old and die. People spend a huge sum of money for anti-aging treatments. Pumpkin seeds have the potential to reverse the aging process and maintain the youthful glow of the skin. UV rays and the lifestyle we follow develop an oxidative stress that leads to wrinkle formation and pigmentation (41). The powerful antioxidants present in zinc fights against these free radicals. Zinc maintains collagen and promotes skin renewal.
32. Prevent Dandruff
Zinc is an active ingredient of shampoos used for dandruff. Going by the study carried, zinc prevents flakiness of scalp, irritation, and itching due to antifungal properties. Eat a handful of pumpkin seeds every day or massage your hair with the oil. Along with this, pumpkin seeds are rich sources of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene, when consumed, gets converted into vitamin A. Absence of vitamin A in the body can lead to the dull and dry scalp and hair (42). Dry scalp leads to itching and develops dandruff.
1) Pumpkin seeds do not have allergies associated with them, but still some people may feel rashes, nasal congestion, swelling, or trouble in breathing.
2) Pumpkin seeds are enriched with fibers. But, chewing them can lead to indigestion which can be avoided by having them with water.
3) The Influx of too much fiber through the seeds may not be well handled by the body, and it may result in the development of diarrhea.
4) Those people who are prone to a migraine must consult a doctor before opting for the seeds.
5) Pumpkin seeds should be properly checked before consuming as eating rotten pumpkin seeds may lead to food poisoning. Go for fresh pumpkin seeds.
6) Do not offer shelled pumpkin seeds to infants and pets as that may choke them.